Today marks another triumph in the movement for marriage equality, as Florida joins the ranks of states to allow same-sex couples to marry. As of today, 70 percent of Americans live in a state allowing same-sex marriage, and the Sunshine state becomes the 36th U.S. state, plus Washington D.C., where gay and lesbian couples may legally marry. Yet not all Floridians are rejoicing over the news, including GOP 2016 hopeful Jeb Bush.
A stay by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle was set to expire Jan. 5 as the United States Supreme Court declined to take up the case overturning a 2008 Constitutional ban. Judge Hinkle ruled the state’s ban unconstitutional in August, stating that it breached the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protections Clauses.
Celebrations began early in Miami-Dade County with a string of weddings yesterday afternoon after Florida Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel withdrew her stay over a county decision.
On Sunday, Former Florida governor and brother to President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush (R), expressed his disappointment to the Miami Herald. “It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision,” said Bush. “The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”
This statement, if you want to call it that, pissed off a lot of people. Including me, the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican hardliners. A pretty wide range.
I believe in universal human rights and protections of these rights. The right to marriage and equality under the law are thus not defined with an exclusion of a minority of the population. Some may suggest allowing courts to overturn the vote of the people is against the foundations of Democracy, but this is an argument of Democracy versus the discriminatory denial of civil rights in a religious interpretation of law.
On the other hand, Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, expressed his disapproval to the Huffington Post. He critiques the former governor’s comments as the same opinion as “the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”
Republican analysts are also already beginning to judge whether or not Bush has the ability to win over the Tea Party hardliners. In analysis by FiveThirtyEight, Jeb Bush falls short of the average Republican in the 113th Congress on a conservative politics scale and greatly behind other 2016 GOP hopefuls, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Monday evening Jeb Bush further endangered his prospects of the GOP crown but greatly likened himself to the rejoicing LGBT community. Bush told the NY Times he would not be challenging the ruling stating, “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”
Bush’s latter remarks were taken with optimistic ears by gay rights activists, including Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign. Sainz expressed to the NY Times that while Bush’s response was not usual of Republican politicians, it was promising.
Only time will tell if Bush has jeopardized his prospects as 2016 presidential hopeful. Regardless of such party politics, LGBT supporters celebrate this first success of 2015. It was this time last year that only 16 states and Washington D.C. permitted same-sex marriages. Today marks a great success for the movement with only 14 stubborn states left to go.